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Therapist's Corner...
Children Learn By Example

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

~Dorothy Law Nolte


     With the start of the school year now under way I felt it a good time of year to bring out some information to help families be able to communicate more effectively. A general rule of thumb I like to encourage is to model the behaviors you want from your children. Here is a list of few highpoints I felt noteworthy:

POSITIVE ways to communicate with your child
  1. Try to eliminate words you use that may be ridiculing or mean (“You’re being a big baby.”), name-calling (“You’re a really bad boy.”), and shaming (“I was so ashamed of you today”). This type of language achieves very little except leaving your child feeling worthless. Kids will often cut off communication with those who use these words with them and begin to develop a poor self-concept. Positive and kind words help give your child more confidence, make them feel happier, helps them behave better, and encourages them to try hard and achieve success. They learn to imitate you and deliver the same respect and praise to others. Examples of positive words are: “I like to way you remembered to pack up your toys”, “Thank you for helping me clean up this mess”, “You tried so hard to share your things with your sister, it made me feel really happy.”
  2. Connect with your child with eye contact. You may need to get down to their level or sit at the table with them. When you are chatting with your kids, this shows them also what they should do. Not only is it good manners, it helps you to listen to each other. Say your child’s name until you get their eye contact, especially before giving them a direction. It is important that they give you their attention, and you should model the same behavior for them.
  3. Use volume appropriately – Don’t ever compete with a yelling child. When they have calmed down, then talk. If you use the volume of your voice appropriately for the majority of the time, raising your voice in an urgent situation should not be ignored. They will sit up and take notice because it doesn’t happen all of the time. Yelling orders or directions from another room may also fall on deaf ears after a while, for example yelling “Turn off the TV now please Chad” or “Hurry up and get dressed” from the kitchen gives the impression that you’re busy and not too serious. Walking into the room, joining in for a minute or two and waiting for the commercial break will go down with far more cooperation. You are modeling respectful behavior to start with and you have come to them with your direction, so they know you mean it!
  4. Show acceptance. When you show your kids that you accept and love them just the way they are despite their differences, they will be more likely to share their feelings and problems with you. They will know that as they grow and change, you will be there for them no matter what.
     We do not have to accept inappropriate behavior such as violence or teasing. We can however accept and love our kids as they are by their character, personality and individual interests.
     For example: Tommy says “Mom, I am feeling to scared to go to bed”. A response to encourage more communication would be: “That’s okay Tommy. I will leave the door open and turn on your night light. I will pop in later to check on you.”
    A poor response would be: “Don’t be a big cry baby Tommy. You’re old enough to know better than that. Only baby boys get scared!”
  5. Make conversation a priority with your kids. Open and comfortable communication with your kids develops confidence, self-esteem, good relationships with others, cooperation and warm relationships with you. Take the time and effort to foster your relationship and communication skills by talking with your kids as much as you can.

     Remember that talking with kids is a two way street. Talk with them and then hear what they have to say. Listening is just as important as talking. Model the behaviors you want.

~ Dave Hoyt, Therapist

Klein Chris

Therapist's Corner...
The Art of Listening

     I find myself saying often that relationships are hard work! We are typically involved in many relationships: a spouse or significant other, siblings, children, parents, co-workers, care or service providers, pastors, friends, and the list goes on. Relationships can be a source of great joy, personal growth, wonder, disappointment, pain, and sadness. Healthy relationships help us to feel significant, cared for, loved, and loving.
     It’s fair to say that relationships are ever evolving, changing, growing or dissolving depending on our level of commitment and so many other variables, many that are out of our control. One variable that is essential to building healthy, loving relationships is communication.
     In the book Loving Each Other-The Challenge of Human Relationships, author Leo Buscaglia, Ph.D., states “Communication, the art of talking with each other, saying what we feel and mean, saying it clearly, listening to what the other says and making sure that we’re hearing accurately, is by all indication the skill most essential for creating and maintain loving relationships.”
     Sounds easy right! In this world of cell phones, email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype…our means of communicating with each other has become so much easier but are we really communicating any more effectively? Are we saying what we feel and mean? Are we saying it clearly and directly or indirectly and passively or aggressively? Do we take time to ask questions to make sure we hear accurately-This is what I heard you say …did I hear you right?
     The pitfalls to true listening are expressed in a thoughtful poem Listen by an anonymous writer:

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Perhaps that’s why prayer works for some people.
Because God is mute and He doesn’t offer advice or try to fix things.
He just listens and trusts you to work it out for yourself.
So please, just listen and hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a few minutes for your turn
and I promise I’ll listen to you.

     Listening to another human being is one of the greatest gifts we can offer! It communicates to that person that they are important to you. That what they have to say matters. Isn’t that what we all long for?

~ Chris Klein, Therapist


From Our EAP...
Stopping Workplace Harassment 

     Has your workplace behavior ever crossed the line into workplace harassment? The answer may surprise you. When most people think of workplace harassment, they usually imagine behavior associated with sexual harassment because it is easily recognized as unacceptable, and it has received widespread attention in the media and the courts. But there are other forms of harassment, and some are just as serious. For the average employee, the real danger is harassing a coworker without even being aware of it.

What is Workplace Harassment?
     According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and/or age. Harassment becomes unlawful when 1) tolerating the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
     Workplace harassment is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Violation of any of these acts may result in legal ramifications for both you and your employer.

A Key Myth to Dispel
     None of us think of ourselves as the type of person who would harass someone. And the truth is that most of us wouldn’t—knowingly. The great myth of harassment is that it’s a consciously malicious act. More often, however, harassment stems from common human failings like a lack of consideration or empathy, ignorance of acceptable boundaries, difficulties with impulsive behavior, or simple thoughtlessness spurred on by our biases or personal problems.

Understand Individual Boundaries
     A little good natured fun to one person may be offensive to another. No matter how well you know your coworkers or consider them friends, you have one thing in common--apaycheck. This unavoidably influences relationships and it must deepen your thinking about how you act on the job. Friends at work do not equate to college roommates, frat brothers, or the ol’ gang at high school, no matter how much we wish they did.
     Our increasingly diverse culture has made it very difficult for us to judge someone’s religion, national origin, and background based on appearances alone. This makes it difficult to be sure when you’re on safe ground with anyone you don’t know very well.
     Be careful not to substitute what you think should be “okay” for what a coworker thinks is “not okay” behavior. Even ethnic jokes about your own background may cause offense to someone with a similar background.
     As a rule, gauge your comments in mixed company. Avoid negative comments or jokes that broadly generalize any particular group. If you say something that seems to make a coworker uncomfortable, find a private area and ask sincerely if you’ve unknowingly caused offense.
     It’s okay to say you messed up, so clear the air. Mistakes, slips of the tongue, and other faux pas happen. The key to resolving these mistakes is direct communication with your coworkers.

Types of Harassment
     Almost all harassment has one thing in common—unwanted behavior. This requires you to practice self- and other-awareness skills so you can make judgments about whether something you are doing is inappropriate or unwanted. To be on the safe side follow this rule: “If someone says your behavior is offensive or unwanted, stop it. And don’t do it again.”

"No" and "Don't" Mean "No" and "Don't"
    Don’t interpret a request to stop an offensive or unwanted behavior to mean that you can repeat the behavior later or do it again in a different way. Accept a “no” or a “don’t” for what it means without reinterpreting it to meet your needs or desires. Accept the boundaries others want you to recognize and respect.

Harassment vs. Offensive Behavior
     Although good manners and civility are the general expectations in the workplace, it’s important to note that any behavior that is rude, obnoxious, or offensive isn’t automatically harassment. Harassment defames or attacks the reputation, and in general, is any form of behavior that is unjust and repetitive and makes someone feel humiliated (the behavior puts him/her down), offended, or intimidated.
     How can you avoid harassment? Practice being polite, thoughtful, sensitive, and empathetic toward coworkers. It’s an effective and practical way to avoid creating a hostile work environment. It probably won’t hurt your reputation, either. ■ 

~ Anna Hain, EAP Coordinator (resource: Daniel Feerst, LISW-CP,

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